Adam’s Sin According to Luke’s Gospel Perspective

No one entering Luke’s first treatise would believe that Luke recorded among his narratives any teaching of Jesus that made reference to Adam’s sin. We are so accustomed to seeing about the subject but in Paul’s writings; however, Luke has recorded a teaching that does not appear in any of the other gospel writers where he refers to the subject, and although there is no Adam’s nomination in the narrative, the characteristics of what happened to Adam in Eden are present.

This is the parable of the steward accused of dissipating his lord’s goods (16:1-13). The comparison of texts shows us that Jesus is elaborating the teaching from what happened in the Garden of Eden.

The steward was accused of dissipation (διασκορπιζων diaskorpizó), a term translated within Luke’s own writing, as: scatter (1:51), and, waste (15:13). In the Old Testament it relates to the Word ְדְדַר(bed ar’), which means to pour out (Daniel 4:14).

To dissipate does not mean to “give” to others the goods of his lord, because if we note in the account, when the servant discounted in the records the amounts of the debts of the debtors, his master praised him for having done discreetly (16:8); so it is not a question of spreading among others.

The steward was accused of not taking care that his master’s estate produced as it should. To dissipate has to do with abandoning the function for which the steward was hired in his office. In the Genesis account we observe that similarly the same thing happens with Adam; Adam was placed in Eden to keep the garden and to keep it operating according to the dispositions of the Creator,

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15

It is clear that Adam’s function was not an agricultural labor as the account mentions that there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground (2:6). Tending it and keeping it had nothing to do with the task of a farmer. Adam is not a farmer, Adam is a steward who takes care that everything works according to the divine order.

The steward in the parable is classified as a unjust steward (αδικιας adikias) which actually means opponent of justice, so comes God’s disapproval. Adam’s sin was that he dissipated his lord’s goods.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:17-19

The conclusion of the parable establishes the forcefulness of God’s judgment on Adam:

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (16:13)

Adam hated God and loved the glory of the wealth that was offered to him,

As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. Psalm 109:17

Luke presents the teachings of Jesus not as one story only, or one more parable of the many he surely came to know; Luke presents truths that must be established as part of the life in the Kingdom. What happens to every man and woman who is greedy, that is, who loves riches more than God, their lives become abominable lives before God: what men have as sublime before God is abomination (16:15). And as such, the abominable will end up in hell.

The parable presents the glory of riches as a way of life, understood as riches not only the economic and monetary value, but rather the love of opulence; John presents it in this way,

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1st. John 2:16

The end of this intervention ends with another parable where Jesus presents the reality of hell and the torment of what it means to be in that place: And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments (16:23). This parable, however, departs from the traditional parables because it presents hell as a spiritual reality, not as a conventional element of daily life and routine to which they were accustomed in the other parables.

Hell is a place in the depths of the earth,[1] it is a place of torment, with flames (16:24); the dead cannot escape on their own from that place (16:26), nor are they allowed to return to the earth and be manifested to the living (16:31). Abraham’s bosom, on the other hand, was a place of consolation (16:25), it also remained in the depths of the earth, in front of hell but separated by an insurmountable chasm that prevented them from passing from one place to another to both groups.

Although a parable, the account establishes the truth of the existence of hell as a final destination after death for opponents of justice.

Although a parable, the account establishes the truth of the existence of hell as a final destination after death for opponents of justice.

As a conclusion to these five great parables, Luke then records Jesus’ recommendation to be careful not to fall into Adam’s sin: It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!  It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.  (17:1-2).

In order not to lament situations that have no remedy, it is better to resolve the grievances in time: Look for yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (17:3-4).


All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

[1] Ephesians 4:10; 1st Peter 3:19